NEWS - Thursday, April 13, 2006

Can The Xbox 360 Out Sell The PlayStation 3?

the European regional vice president at Microsoft Xbox. But he would say that, wouldn’t he? And Sony’s PlayStation 2 passed the 100m sales mark last November, whereas Microsoft has shifted a comparatively paltry 24 million Xboxes. So is he just being optimistic? The difference is that Microsoft now has the jump on Sony. When the PlayStation 3 launches in November (in theory), the Xbox 360 will already have been on sale for a full year. "Is it PlayStation or DelayStation?" taunts Lewis, who is also scornful of Sony’s insistence on using the PlayStation 3 to get its Blu-ray high-definition DVD standard into people’s houses. "Blu-ray is untried, untested, not established," he says. "I think there is a very strong risk in terms of the consumer having to pay for something that may never make real ongoing sense. Right now, HD-DVD [which, uncoincidentally, Microsoft backs] is far more established and we’ll offer a peripheral which you’ll hear a bit more about at E3 [the big videogames show in LA in a month’s time]." To beat Sony’s eager hordes, the Xbox 360 will need a huge installed base. Steve Ballmer, head of Microsoft, says history shows that in console generation wars, the first to sell 10m wins that round ( Lewis will say only that by June, between 4.5m and 5.5m will have been shipped worldwide and there will be 80 Xbox 360 games on sale worldwide. That may be conservative, as the production bottlenecks that led to retail shortages at the launch seem to have been overcome. But will the Xbox 360 have what it has so far lacked - a new "killer" game to motivate gamers to buy the hardware? Lewis suggests that Epic’s Gears of War "will be amazing. It will be in some ways a defining title in the way Splinter Cell and Halo were for Xbox. And the Halo franchise remains important to what we do." Which implicitly confirms rumours that Halo 3 won’t ship until next year. · If you’d like to comment on any aspect of Technology Guardian, send your emails to


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